Pioneer Days

10 years of progress: Rhodesia, old and new, from an original Greater Britain Exhibition brochure of 1899

It is difficult today to appreciate just how brave and hardy were the early pioneers who opened up the wilderness which became Rhodesia.  There was nothing at all to be had other than that which could be brought by wagon through literally hundreds of miles of virgin bush. The wagons and their drivers had to cross land having no roads of any description and the rivers to be crossed had no bridges.  There were no towns and everything that a man might want had to be built from scratch. Yet within a few years the pioneers had laid the foundations for a modern country.

This selection of pictures is mostly from the period up to the founding of the Rhodesia Pioneers’ and Early Settlers’ Society which came into being on 12th September 1904.  Most of the pictures are from original 1st editions of the period. They include a number which have probably not been published before and others probably not seen since before 1905 including some private photographs donated by a pioneer descendant who wishes to remain anonymous.

 

Arlington Heights near Salisbury, 1895
Arlington Heights near Salisbury, 1895

 

On the farm; a scene from the 1890s
On the farm; a scene from the 1890s

 

Spoiling the aim of an assailant - from William Harvey Brown's account of the 1896 rebellion.
Spoiling the aim of an assailant – from William Harvey Brown’s account of the 1896 rebellion.

 

Salisbury Laager 1896
Salisbury Laager 1896

 

Ruins of Porta Farmhouse 1896 near present day Norton.
Ruins of Porta Farmhouse 1896 near present day Norton.

 

Attack on Cummings Store, 1896
Attack on Cummings Store, 1896

 

Charge of the Afrikanders at the Battle of Colenbrander's Farm
Charge of the Afrikanders at the Battle of Colenbrander’s Farm

 

Escape of Maj. Burnham 1896 following his successful mission to kill the M'limo, the chief witch doctor of the Matabele who instigated the 1896 rebellion.
Escape of Maj. Burnham from chasing natives in 1896 following his successful mission to kill the M’limo – believed to be the spiritual leader of the Matabele who instigated the 1896 rebellion.  Burnham was lauded around the world for his bravery and daring.

 

The Founder on his farm near the Matopos Hills. Mr. Rhodes is standing to the left.
The Founder on his farm near the Matopos Hills. Mr. Rhodes is standing to the left.

 

A General View of the "Home from Home" in Rhodesia
A General View of a “Home from Home” north of Bulawayo c 1900

 

The Authoress in her Garden near Bulawayo
The Mistress of the house in her Garden near Bulawayo

 

The Homestead Kitchen near Bulawayo
A Homestead Kitchen near Bulawayo

 

Three illustrations of real life incidents of a pioneer woman in Rhodesia: 

"My horse snorted and objected but I urged him in" - Aida Redhead
“My horse snorted and objected but I urged him in” – crossing a drift during heavy rain.

 

"With a yell I sprang back from it" - Aida Redhead
An unwelcome visitor – a frequent occurrence on a homestead.

 

 

“A lion! – a lion!” – an incident in the life of a Rhodesian pioneer farmer’s wife.

 

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Battle of Colenbrander's Farm, 1896
Battle of Colenbrander’s Farm, 1896

 

Pioneers leaving Hartley for a nearby gold-field c 1892
Pioneers leaving Hartley for a nearby gold-field c 1892

 

Harley Hills c 1891
Harley Hills c 1891

 

A mining camp at Hartley, west of Salisbury near junction of the Zimbo River with the Umfuli, c 1891
A mining camp at Hartley, south west of Salisbury near the junction of the Zimbo River with the Umfuli, c 1891

 

Mashona huts and grain bins early 1890s
Mashona huts and grain bins early 1890s

 

Mashona kraal 1890s
Mashona kraal 1890s

 

Travelling in Rhodesia 1890s
Travelling in Rhodesia 1890s

 

Mashona women grinding corn
Mashona women grinding corn

 

Rhodesian homestead c1900
Rhodesian homestead c1900

 

A Mashona woman going to market 1890s
A Mashona woman going to market 1890s

 

A Mashona family outside their hut.
A Mashona family outside their hut.

 

A Mashona village amidst a typical rocky outcrop 1890s
A Mashona village amidst a typical rocky outcrop 1890s

 

Belingwe store and laager during the 1896 rebellion
Belingwe store and laager during the 1896 rebellion

 

A Traveller's Difficulty. The driver does not know which way to make the oxen turn to avoid throwing the wagon into the river. The family wait safely on the bank while the matter is resolved.
A Traveller’s Difficulty. The driver does not know which way to make the oxen turn to avoid throwing the wagon into the river. The family wait safely on the bank while the matter is resolved.

 

 

Government House Bulawayo early 1900s
Government House Bulawayo early 1900s

 

 

A transport rider outspanned for breakfast on the Umtali-Salisbury road c 1898
A transport rider outspanned for breakfast on the Umtali-Salisbury road c 1898

 

A typical early Mashonaland farmhouse. The family group and some hunting trophies. c 1898
A typical early Mashonaland farmhouse. The family group and some hunting trophies. c 1898

 

A early settler's house in course of construction in Mashonaland
A early settler’s house in course of construction in Mashonaland

 

Post Office at Bulawayo. The mail coach has just arrived. c 1897
Post Office at Bulawayo. The mail coach has just arrived. c 1897

 

Tented camp at Salisbury September 1890
Tented camp at Salisbury September 1890

 

Early house in Salisbury c 1891
Early house in Salisbury c 1891

 

Salisbury, Rhodesia in 1896
Salisbury, Rhodesia in 1896

 

 

Salisbury viewed from Jameson Ave, 1903
Salisbury viewed from Jameson Ave, 1903

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The old Bulawayo Club, 1897Members on the verandah of the Bulawayo Club 1897
1. unknown  2. P Sneddon  3. AC Evans  4. Fleming  5. Sir Frederick Frankland  6. A Molineux  7. Douglas Hawksley  8. T Tompkins  9. blurred  10. Dr. Hans Sauer  11. PBS Wrey  12. unknown  13. Marquand  14. unknown  15. Fred. Crewe  16. Maj. Walter Howard
(click on the picture and then again for a closer view of the members)

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Natives watching Coronation parade, Cecil Squere, Salisbury, 1902

“Salisbury Club, boys watching Coronation Parade in Cecil Square, 1902”

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A Cape Cart on the road the Ayrshire Mine

Outspan in the bush; a Cape Cart on the Ayrshire road North West of Salisbury, 1902

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Chiefs on Coronation Day, Salisbury, 1902

Native Chiefs on Coronation Day, Salisbury, 1902

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Journey to Hunyani 1899

Messrs. Thomas & Hawksley (in cart) with native boys on road to Hunyani, 1899

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A typical scene during the days of Ox Wagon Transportation
A typical scene during the days of Ox Wagon Transportation

 

Before the railway – Transport riding in the eighteen nineties
Before the railway – Transport riding in the eighteen nineties

 

Looking North along First Street, Salisbury c 1905
Looking North along First Street, Salisbury c 1905